Three Points Critical in Inter Miami vs Columbus Clash

Saturday’s Major League Soccer game between the Columbus Crew and Inter Miami CF could almost be considered an elimination game as far as the playoffs are concerned. Both teams are outside the playoff picture and running out of time to make up ground with just six matches left in the season. Earning three points would be huge for both teams, although the loser of Saturday’s game could fall too far back to have realistic playoff hopes.

According to BetUS, Columbus is a favorite at home with a Moneyline of -130, while Inter Miami’s Moneyline is set at +350. There is also a Moneyline of +275 for a draw. Finally, this game comes with an over/under of 2.5 total goals.

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The Chase is On

The Crew will enter the weekend 10th in the Eastern Conference standings. With six games left to play, they are six points behind the three currently tied teams for the final three playoff spots. That means Columbus will have to surpass at least three in the standings between now and the end of the season to reach the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Inter Miami is one spot and two points behind Columbus in the standings. The Herons have 32 points, putting them eight points behind the seventh and final playoff spot. To make matters worse, Miami has the third-worst goal differential in the Eastern Conference, making the playoff climb even more challenging for the Herons.

Breaking Point

Things may have officially boiled over in Miami with the Herons losing their fifth straight game last weekend. Manager Phil Neville went off on a rant against the referees following last weekend’s loss to the New York Red Bulls. Officiating aside, Inter Miami’s biggest problem right now is getting shut out in three straight games and scoring just one goal during the club’s five-game losing streak.

Despite getting ten goals from Gonzalo Higuain this season, the Herons have scored the fewest goals in MLS this year. Higuain provided the one, and only goal Inter Miami has scored in its last five games, so the rest of the team isn’t offering the league’s most expensive player much support. Miami has only conceded one goal in each of its last three matches, so the defense is holding up well despite a profound lack of scoring.

Crew Pulling Together?

Just a few days after winning the Campeones Cup trophy, Columbus fell flat on its face in its last league game two weeks ago with a 3-0 loss to Philadelphia. It was both a disappointing result and a huge setback after the Crew had collected seven points from their previous three games, including a draw with first-place New England. Despite playing a man up for most of the second half and owning 64% of the possession, the Crew failed to score and missed a penalty.

Of course, the Columbus attack hasn’t exactly been the team’s strength this year, as they have the sixth-fewest goals in the league. They will need Gyasi Zardes to return from international duty in good form after scoring the club’s last three goals in league play. The same is true of Armenian international Lucas Zelarayan, who is tied with Zardes for the most goals on the Crew but hasn’t produced for his club team lately.

Crash and Burn

There is no reason to believe that Inter Miami can easily get back on track after the way the Herons have played lately, and Neville lost his cool last weekend. Columbus is far from perfect, but the Crew should be good enough to take advantage of a team in such poor form. Bet on Columbus to take care of business and beat Inter Miami on Saturday.

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